Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 4 - Chaos and Order

Welcome to China ya'll.

Today started off fine, I woke up and went and did some gong fu with my man Shifu Li Chuan cuz he's back in town and we showed Yves and a few of his Dutch partners some moves. While chillin with Yves in his apt later, I realized I did not have my passport on me. I became frantic. Big Big Issues if I lose my passport ... for the next two hours I am tripping. I go to my house, it aint there. I call the cabbie, it aint there. I go back to Yves' spot, it aint there. Search the gong fu spot, have the hotel people check the cameras .. TRIPPIN thinkin about the moneyloss, pain and torture I am going to have to experience real soon.

I say a prayer to the Lord. The girl at the counter says: yo call the cabbie again cuz sometimes they dont look hard enough. Eureka. I thank the Lord.

I then head to the Silk and Pearl Market to hustle some tickets. I sell some handball, buy some water polo, sell some ping pong, trade for some athletics and then I run into the Cockney Brits and we make a deal for 1500US. The deal falls through. No more Cockney&Chach ....

Then i go and pick up Anna and we go to watch some tennis. Its the bomb, we roll up just in time to see Venus dispatch some Swiss girl and then Novak Djokovic (World #3) shows up and plays Robby Genepri. Anna drools over Robby, Novak whips his ass, I take pictures for Anna and holler into the crowd. All the smurfs try and shush me but I only get louder.

These Olympics are for Chinese only by the way. Just in case you thought this was international because your TV station says so, hahaha NO.

There are armies of FREE little students running around acting like robot-people speaking some cute English helping all the laowai out, but its just cuz thats what the cute, free, robotic students are there for. In the end i trip over them heading through the gate as they stutter about some rule that says if i leave the stadium, i can only return on odd periods of the match ... i'm like dude thats for the gray skies that hover above, not me and this here tennis match ... i make it through cuz i can talk fast and their just students.

You know, the stands are filled with 90% Chinese while foreigners are on the streets scalping tickets and trading left and right. Nothing is labeled, buses are a pain in the ass, there are no schedules handy blah blah .. its a mess. Transportation is funky and the top-down dictatorship of the "proletariat" means that these little robot-students have a firm grip on their personalities. They follow rules so damn well its infuriating. The rules aint logical to us Westerners, but that dont matter, cuz these Olympics are for Chinese only.

No huge crowds of foreigners descending on spots, no crazy Brazilian mobs dancing naked with pale, drunk Brits. None of this. Just a sea of Chinese swirling around clumps of Others.

When Venus and Novak played, the crowds were silent and waited bored for the last match which was Li Na (Chinese) against Svetlana Longlastname from Russia. Then they came alive doing the Borg-like chant of "Li Na Jia You!" (Li Na Add Oil!). Even the little girls were doing it and even though a little girl doing anything is pretty cute, this was a bit creepy.

I wonder if all the Games are like this: the host country basically dominating everything (not necessarily Games and medals, but environment, chants, stands etc.)

It can be creepy listening to everybody do a chant over and over again, but the cute little robot volunteers are really cute. As we left the stadium, they lined up like Mascots from Disneyland and waved us good bye enthusiastically. They are lovely kids no question, just a little weird. They seem so Borgish ...And it really hits me now that i see how everybody else in the world acts ... East Asians are very weird to us man. so collective in what they do ...

Its like Half-Life the video game. A 30-something woman's voice constantly repeats slogans, exhortations, info, and commands via a recorded loudspeaker in Chinese and English. Her echoing voice piercing the air reminds me of phrases like "thought control," "you will be happy" and "nothing can stop us!"

On the way home I met a girl who was asking me about safety in the US, American views of China, my thoughts on China's development etc. I call this THE CONVERSATION. I have had it probably close to 100,000 times, most likely much more, but i dont want to get ridiculous with the zeros.

However silly some rules might be, creepy some chants might be, annoying some draconian measures might be, in the end it doesn't matter cuz this aint our home. Thats what i told this girl, i said you should stop caring what other people think so much, might make life easier and you less of a SUPERDORK-ROBOT-PHRASE-SPITTER.

She smiled with indulgence at my ignorant hairy ass and said, we chinese are so much better off, we are so happy and we think it has been such a great change, what do you think? Oh, by the way, can you walk out of your door at night safely?

Sigh. "yeah most of the time. have you asked Papa Party if yer allowed to poo today yet?" I didnt say that.

Its a crazy mess, the Jia You chants are getting old already but somehow the Games slurch on forward. I am going to China Spain B-Ball tomorrow and USA-Nigeria soccer the day after. Got some boxing and stuff coming ....

Cuz in the end, me yelling out when the crowd is silent is what its all about ... And of course, good fun watching good sports up close


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5 comments:

rayphoon said...

我应该说,他们不是全中国,或者我不中国?

cowannar said...

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"They seem so Borgish ...And it really hits me now that i see how everybody else in the world acts ... East Asians are very weird to us man. so collective in what they do ..."
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See this David Brooks piece on "collectivism" vs. "individualism":

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/opinion/12brooks.html

sascha matuszak said...

Yeah man i feel that. I am so glad I have been able to spend my time here and absorb some of the collective way of thinking. Sure it is still strange to me, but i notice how i have changed in the way I think and how i can move between ...

another way to put it is: women i have always found very attractive are those that are born in the east, raised in the west and vice versa.

A merging of the two is the most beautiful thing I have seen in humanity.

sascha matuszak said...

我知道,这里也什么都有。你看上面那片文章,写的比较简单,但是也有点道理。

Okayla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.